Monday, July 12, 2010

"What do you do?"

"What do you do?"  That's the first writing assignment I want from my students.  But I don't mean "what job do you perform."  I mean "what have you learned to do because you were persistent; because you tried; because you were determined to succeed."

I want to know WHAT you learned to do because it was difficult but you had to stay with the job, or the idea, or the lessons to master it.  I want to know WHY this particular skill, talent, or ability was--and is--so important to you--that you are happy to tell me about it BECAUSE it made you smarter, stronger, or more confident.

WHO made you do this?  WHO inspired you; who put the idea in your mind, or where did you go for support and help to get better at this.  HOW did you learn things about this idea, job, skill, or talent, and HOW was it valuable:  HOW have you used it or done it?  

Can you cook?  Are you skilled at preparing food?  Are you musically inclined?  Can you read music?  Perform on an instrument?  Do you learn by moving: are you a dancer, or do you find martial arts to be your skill?  How about mechanical talents:  can you assemble, build, or figure out the complex ideas of operating something and what makes it work?  

How about building:  can you see spatial plans and assemble or create?  Are you artistically inspired to draw, paint, carve, or release something from your imagination into a tangible?  

Are you a people-person?  Do you work with ideas, thoughts, images, or coaching?  Can you motivate, inspire, encourage, or promote?  Have you sales skills, the ability to make people believe in your ideas?  Are you motivated by the need to nurture, heal, or save something or someone?  Are you creative with words, sounds, colors, or textures?  Can you do things with available space or organize?

What IS it you do well because you had a goal, a dream, or a determination to be "good" at something; tell me about this.  Tell me WHY this matters to you and HOW it came to be; tell me WHO was the person who showed this to you (or did you come by this yourself?)  HOW LONG has this been a part of your life, and HOW do you see this playing a part in your future?  I want to know--and it will be useful for you to learn how to make your answer a part of your future--and the future of others who may learn by you.

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